The Health Unit is mandated to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 1994, within its jurisdiction. The Act is the legislative centrepiece of the provincial Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.
The Act contains the following important tobacco control measures:
- prohibition on selling tobacco in packages of less than 20 cigarettes
- prohibition on selling tobacco to any person who is less than 19 years of age
- prohibition on selling tobacco without health information and warnings on the package
- prohibition of smoking in school buildings and on school grounds
- prohibition on selling tobacco in health care institutions, such as, hospitals and pharmacies
- prohibition on displaying tobacco products where these products are sold
In 2006, the Act was strengthened to protect Ontarians from second-hand smoke, prohibiting smoking in the following locations:
- enclosed public places and all enclosed workplaces, including restaurants, bars, schools, private clubs, sports arenas, entertainment venues, work vehicles, and offices
The changes to the Act also instituted new measures to ensure compliance with these new sections. Every employer/owner of an enclosed workplace/public place must:
- ensure compliance of the legislation
- notify employees that smoking is not allowed
- post signs (including in washrooms)
- remove all ashtrays or similar equipment
- ensure employees who do not comply leave the enclosed workplace
Furthermore, if an employee seeks enforcement of this Act, no employer/owner can:
- dismiss or threaten the employee
- discipline or suspend the employee or threaten to do so
- impose a penalty on the employee
- intimidate or coerce the employee
As of 2008, the Act imposed a complete ban on the retail display and promotion of tobacco products.
In January, 2015, the Act was extended to make it illegal to smoke on bar and restaurant patios and on or within 20 metres of playgrounds, public sports fields, and surfaces. Selling tobacco on the campuses of post-secondary educational institutions is also now illegal.
If you have a question about the Act or would like to forward information regarding an offence under the Act, email our Tobacco Talk Line or call us at (613) 966-5513 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 600.
TTY: (613) 966-3036 (Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)